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and it was long the custom to transmit it as it were lineally and hereditarily to the principal of the king's ships. There are many ancient representations †, more or less authentic, of the Great Harry: its cost is said to have been nearly 11,000l.; and it appears that 400 men were employed during four whole days in working the ship from Erith, where it was built, into Barking creek, a circumstance which the historian of modern architecture observes," proves very sufficiently the inexpertness of the navigators, or the unwieldiness of the vessel; not improbably both."

Meantime it had been determined that the king himself in person, with an army royal, should invade what was called "his realm of France," with fire and sword. The archbishop of Canterbury, who in his office of lord chancellor opened the session, began his speech with the text, "Justice and mercy have kissed each other;" he said, that in proclaiming war with an enemy, we ought first to examine the justness of the quarrel, and the intention of the proclaimer; and he observed, that in those who took the field and hoped for victory, it was absolutely necessary that they should walk in the ways of the Lord, and on him alone place their dependence ; that every one should keep to the post he was ordered to, and that each should be contented with his pay, and abstain from all plunder. ‡ When the king's determination was made known, "no man," says the chronicler, can doubt, but that preparation was made of harness, weapons, artillery, banners, and all other things But neither were necessary for such an enterprise.'


The commons preparations for defence neglected. represented that the land of Bretagne and the haven of

* Charnock, ii. 27.

+ "We may learn from these," says Charnock (ii. 28.), "the derivation of many terms preserved even to the present hour, though the parts consonant to those on which the names were first bestowed have long since become so materially altered in their form, that without this, or some similar clue, we might be at a loss to trace the true cause of its first application. Among these we may number the round top, the yard arm, and, rude as its form is in the painted record, and also perhaps in the ori ginal itself, the forecastle."

Parl. Hist. i. 479.

Hall, 535.


Brest lay straight opposite the south coast of Cornwall; that the French and Bretons, by reason of their fishing upon that coast, knew every haven there, and creek and landing-place, as well as any of the king's subjects; and that seeing the said county was threescore miles and ten in length, "and the substance thereof little more than six miles in breadth from the southern to the northern sea," they knew that no great number of people could speedily be collected to oppose them at their landing, and that at many of the landing-places there was neither pile, blockhouse, nor bulwark,siderations which gave the enemy "audacity, comfort, and courage to arrive and land there." The justices and sheriffs of the county were therefore required to visit the coast from Plymouth to the Land's End; and when this was done, every mayor and constable was ordered to see that the inhabitants repaired with proper instruments to the places appointed, and there made good and substantial bulwarks, brays, walls, ditches, and all other fortifications needful. The same precautions were to be taken to the eastward, wherever the local authorities should deem them necessary. Such works might be made upon any man's ground, of what estate or degree soever, and stones, turf, and heath taken for the purpose, without any compensation.*

Such precautions were not uncalled for. The French king, after the last disastrous action, had sent for the most experienced of his naval commanders from the Mediterranean. The English say that he was a knight of Rhodes, and call him Prior John; he was a Gascon gentleman †, Pierre Jean le Bidoulx by name. He brought with him four "galleys of force, with divers foists and row-galleys, so well ordinanced and trimmed that the like had not been seen in these parts before his coming." The " great navy which the French had prepared, and which was so well furnished in all things, that no doubt it was a wonder to see," was lying in Brest harbour,

4 Hen. VIII. s. i.

† Captain Pregent, Du Bellay calls him; Pregent, the editor of the me moirs says, signifying, in the use of those times, Pierre Jean.

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ready to join him on his arrival, when the English fleet of "ships royal, and others meet for war, to the number of forty-two, besides ballengers, sailed in March from Portsmouth, under the lord admiral sir Edward Howard. He made straight for the coast of Bretagne, came into Bertram Bay, and there anchored in sight of the French fleet, which wisely kept itself close in Brest harbour. The English, with that confidence in their own courage which they had always possessed, and which the event has seldom failed to justify, determined to attack them there; and "so in good order of battle they sailed forward." But in this instance they ventured rashly, not being acquainted as they ought to have been with the navigation; and at the first entry one of the ships, whereof Arthur Plantagenet was captain, struck on a hidden rock, and "burst in sunder." Upon this all the others stayed, to their own great displeasure, and "not to the little joy of the Frenchmen, who shot at them without doing any harm. So the English captains, perceiving that the haven was dangerous to enter without an expert pilot, returned to their harborough in Bertram Bay." The enemy, not doubting that it was the intention of the English to attack them, moored their ships as near to the castle as they could, and erected "bulwarks on the land, on every side, to shoot at" their assailants. There were lying in the harbour four and twenty great hulks, which had come thither to load with salt. These they set in a row," meaning, when the attack should be made, to use them as fire-ships, and let them drive with the stream against the invading fleet. "The lord admiral," says Hall, "perceiving the navy of France to be thus in fear, and not willing nor daring to come abroad, but to lie as prisoners in a dungeon, wrote to the king to come thither in person, and have the honour of so high an enterprise; which writing the king's council nothing allowed, for putting the king in jeopardy upon the chance of the sea: wherefore they wrote sharply to him, to accomplish that which appertained to his duty; and


this caused him to take courage and put things in adventure."*


Sir Edward Howard needed no such excitement. very fact of his inviting the king to take part in such an adventure is proof sufficient that his own courage amounted to rashness. Meantime Prior John, with his galleys from the Mediterranean, arrived on the coast; and having learnt that the English fleet were so stationed as to prevent his junction with the Brest fleet, he entered Conquet Bay, drew his galleys to the shore, and "set his basilisks and other ordnance at the mouth of the bay, which was so bulwarked on every side, that by water it was not possible to be won." From hence he sent out his small foists, upon every fair occasion, to annoy the English, in the hope of provoking them to some rash enterprise. These were generally chased back to the bay, which the English vessels were too large to enter. At length the lord admiral manned some of his boats, and they, with the most imminent hazard, took one of the best foists, "the galleys and bulwarks shooting upon them so freshly that it was a marvel how they escaped." Sir Edward Howard bears a high character in the history of his times, as an able statesman, a faithful counsellor, and a free speaker, as well as a brave soldier and skilful seaman: but it is said to have been his maxim, that no sailor could be good for any thing, unless he were resolute to a degree of madness. To that degree the king's letter had now excited him; and he is not the only man who has been driven to destruction by an undeserved or intemperate reproof. He held a council, in which it was concluded that lord Ferrers and sir Stephen Bull should land with an adequate force to attack the land-defences, while he entered the bay "with row-barges and little galleys' thus simultaneously to attack the enemy by sea and by land. But there was a Spanish knight on board, who persuaded him that there was less risk in entering the bay than had been supposed; and Howard, in whose heart *Hall, 536. Holinshed, 574.



the king's words were rankling, caught eagerly at a proposal which assured him of an honourable death if he failed of eminently distinguishing himself. So he "called to him William Fitzwilliam, William Cooke, John Colley, and sir Wolstan Brown, as his chief and most trusty friends, and made them privy to his intent, which was to take on himself the whole enterprise, with their assistance. These, "like men of high courage,' gladly assented; and so, on St. Mark's day, "he put April himself in a small row-barge, appointing three other 25. small rowing-ships, and his own ship's boat, to attend him, and therewith rowed suddenly into the bay," where Prior John had moored his galleys fast to the shore. So hot a fire was opened upon him, both from the galleys and the bulwarks, that they who should have supported him were afraid: but he pushed forward, grappled the prior's galley, and boarded it, the Spaniard and seventeen Englishmen bravely following him. He

is said to have driven the French out, and to have been in possession of that galley; but the enemy rallied, when they saw that he was unsupported. They reentered it. Whether they cut the cable, or the English sailors themselves let it slip, is uncertain; but his row-boat fell off when he would have stepped into it. Sixteen of the English and the Spaniard was slain; and Howard himself, when he saw that it was impossible to escape, took the whistle (the badge of his degree) from his neck, and threw it into the sea, before he himself was borne overboard by the enemies' pikes. *

* Hall, 536. Holinshed, 574. Campbell, i. 263. Collins's Peerage (sir Egerton Brydges's ed.) i. 83. "He was thus unhappily lost," says Anster, "before he could have notice that he had been elected into the society of the most noble order of the Garter. The king of Scots, in a letter to king Henry VIIL, bemoans his death in these words: And surely, dearest brother, we think more loss is to you of the late admiral, who deceased to his great honour, than the advantage might have been of winning all the French galleys which valiant knight and others that perished had been better employed than on the enemies of Christian religion.""

Campbell begins his series of the Lives of the Admirals, with sir Edward Howard. It seems as if Henry repented the harshness with which he had reprimanded him, and in honourable amends had given him the order of the Garter. The sharpness of that reprimand "caused him," says Holinshed, " to adventure things further than wisdom would he should, to his utter undoing and casting away; God having ordained the means by his

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